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Definition of '‘Shirk Jali (plain) and Shirk khafi (hidden)

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Definition of '‘Shirk Jali (plain) and Shirk khafi (hidden)

By Mohammad Rafiqu Etesame

The holy Qur’an makes mention,” Indeed, shirk is the greatest injustice" (Al-Quran). There are two types of shirk: shirk jali (open or plain shirk) and shirk khafi or hidden shirk.

Definition of plain shirk is that, to associate partners with Allah Almighty i.e. to hold belief that Allah Almighty is true God and worthy of worship, He gives life and death, provides to his creation, fulfills their needs, sends down rains and blowing winds, etc.

Just like that, such and such god, goddess or the sun, the moon, fire or other natural phenomena (to whom these people give the status of God), are the worthy of worship and can do these actions.

Now to understand the definition of hidden shirk, it is necessary

that every action is done only by Allah’s will and command as the holy Qur’an makes mention,” The decision is for Allah only. He tells the truth and He is the Best of Deciders” ﴾57﴿.

According to these verses, everything is in motion only by Allah’s command and no living creator can move without this, even a man cannot hold a cup of tea by his own will unless Allah wants,

 and the effect of profit or loss in everything exists by His order. For example, cooling of ice and burning of fire is only by His command, and they can do nothing by themselves. The holy Qur'an coin a similitude of Prophet Abraham PBUH, that when he was put into fire, then Allah's command came,” [But] We said: O fire! Be thou cool, and [a source of] inner peace for Abraham!” (Al-Anbiya (The Prophets) 21:69).

 And the fire did not burn him but became the pleasant for him instead. And it is proved by the holy Qur’an that when the Prophet Abraham PBUH intended to slaughter to his son Prophet Ishmael PBUH with a knife, but the knife did not work, because Allah did not order to it to do so and a sheep was slaughtered instead.

 Similarly, food and water cannot quench hunger and thirst of anyone and no medicine can heel but by Allah’s command.

So, according to Islamic teachings, when any Muslim takes a food or water or medicine, then he should intend that, “I am taking them only by following Allah’s command and sunnah of the holy Prophet PBUH.

Now the definition of Shirk khafi is that, to give too much importance to beings, which function as a means in the creation of things, and to think that they have the power to influence, then this is a hidden shirk or shirk khafi.

For example, food water or medicine are only the means to fulfills a need, and if someone thinks that these are independent to do something by themselves without Divine command, then he commits shirk khafi.



And the man who does so, it is like that he adopts many other ‘gods’ besides a real One God. For example, one god causes to quench his hunger and other his thrust, and some heels his disease etc.

Now a question arises here that, generally when a Muslim eats food or drinks water and he does not intend anything, whether he commits shirk khafi?

 But it doesn’t so, because Oneness of God exists in every Muslim’s heart and he knows well that everything is done by Allah’s command. Therefore, he doesn’t commit shirk, however the disbelievers when they commit plain shirk by ascribing partners to Allah Almighty, then they also commit shirk khafi along with it.     

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